De Gendt wins in Saint-Etienne!
Epic performance from De Gendt!
Six riders, including Thomas De Gendt, escaped relatively early in the race but were caught just before things heated up on the climb of Corkscrew Road, deep into the finale. Eventually, twenty riders sprinted for the victory in Campbelltown, where last year’s overall winner Daryl Impey claimed the win ahead of current race leader Patrick Bevin. Lotto Soudal rider De Gendt was rewarded for his efforts in the break as he received the most combative rider award.
Thomas De Gendt: “My plan before the race was to be in the breakaway and it turned out to be relatively easy to do so, because today’s opening kilometres were quite hilly. So I knew that only strong riders would make it into the break. My fellow escapees were really strong today. We did a kind of team time trial with the six of us - riding three hours full gas to see how the peloton would react. They had to make a real effort to both limit and reduce our maximum advantage of five and a half minutes. Four to five teams had to cooperate before finally catching us.”
“In the end, Miles Scotson tried to ride away from us. If we had stayed together for a little longer, chances were likely that one of the escapees would have a shot at stage success. However, I don’t think I was the strongest breakaway rider today, I had the feeling that I was cramping up by the end. But we made it a good day and I’m happy with my current shape. It was worth the effort to join the break today. Maybe I can repeat this performance on Sunday, but staying away on Willunga Hill is almost a utopia as the GC guys still battle for the overall victory. Maybe I’ll try again on Sunday, but we’ll see.”